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A Marquee Name Enters NCAA Wrestling Transfer Portal

With the NCAA offseason less than three weeks old, the rumor mill is already in full swing concerning the way too early rosters and probable starting lineups heading into the 2021-22 NCAA season.

This offseason is unlike any other in the history of the sport. There are far more questions to be asked as many seniors  ponder whether they will utilize the extra year of eligibility universally granted by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That eligibility question, coupled with the increasingly popular question of whether an athlete should test their worth via the NCAA’s version of free agency – the transfer portal – is a reoccurring question that pops up every year for athletes and coaches alike.

With that, Cornell’s 2019 NCAA finalist and two-time All-American Max Dean entered the transfer portal earlier this week. He is arguably one of the biggest (and most unexpected) names to grace the transfer portal all season.

Including a grey shirt and an Olympic redshirt year, Dean is 91-18 on the collegiate level. Overall, he is 57-12 excluding redshirt and grey shirt action.

In his first year in the lineup, Dean finished eighth at the 2018 NCAA Championships and picked up a win over his eventual NCAA finals opponent Drew Foster on his way to the podium. At the 2019 NCAA Championships, on his path to the finals, Dean beat Cash Wilcke, Nino Bonaccorsi, and avenged earlier losses to NCAA champion Myles Martin in the semifinals.

On the freestyle scene, Dean is quite accomplished as well. The Cornell Big Red grappler made a U23 World Team in 2019 and earned a win over Nate Jackson earlier this year. However, Jackson would avenge that loss at the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier. Dean would also fell at Last Chance to fellow Cornell teammate, Chris Foca.

Since he took an Olympic redshirt in 2020 when the NCAA Championships were canceled, and this year did not count towards athlete’s eligibility, Dean will have at least two years of eligibility remaining at his new school. Dean is a native of Michigan, where he won two state titles for Lowell High School.

As a Michigander, it should surprise anyone that the Michigan Wolverines are one program drawing whispers of being a potential landing spot for Max Dean and his older brother Gabe. The elder Dean is in search of a new Regional Training Center to call home.

It appears that the Double-Dean departure from Ithaca is largely out of fear that the Ivy League may not have a season next year. While there is no evidence to suggest Ivy League programs won’t be returning to action next season, the younger of the Dean brothers isn’t willing to risk missing another NCAA season in 2021-22.

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